Commuting to work by bike, come rain or shine on some pretty epic routes! Could Iain Robinson actually be the ultimate commuter?! Let’s find out about The Big Switch!
“Commuting by bike means everything. I would say it’s become an integral part of my identity”
So Iain, I guess people commute by bike for all sorts of reasons. What’re yours?
Ah man, there’s a whole host of reasons! I suppose the main reason I commute on a bike would be just my straight-up desire to use the car as little as possible! I think so far I’m doing pretty good with that too in logging 14,000 miles by bike and just 2000 by car! ‘One lady owner’ ain’t got nothin’ on me!
I guess just by reducing how much I use the car, I feel like I’m doing my bit for the environment and reducing our carbon footprint. I’m also ensuring my physical and mental well-being needs are fulfilled, so win-win.
Also through commuting by bike to work, I’ve found I’ve become so much more motivated for actually going to work. It’s almost as though my job enables me to do what I love – cycling – and I get to do it guilt-free! I don’t have to negotiate free time from the family to go out and ride like many do, it’s just part of my work routine and I love it! So when I’m not at work and the kids are off school, I don’t feel compelled as much to get out on the bike as I get my fix every workday!
For some it’s just a means to an end, others it’s their only form of transport… What does commuting by bike mean to you?
It probably sounds a little dramatic but honestly, commuting by bike means everything. It’s become such an integral part of my identity. Yes, I’m a father, a partner and a railway signaller, but I’m also a cycle commuter.
You wouldn’t believe the difference it has made to my mental health and general well-being, not only do I feel more motivated for work but most importantly I’ve become a much better person to live with and spend time with at home.
I guess like when you’re looking for a car you need to consider the mileage you’re going to be doing, right? So what made you go for the Ribble Endurance SL Disc?
Right, yeah for sure! Well, I grew up in Preston, not far from the River Ribble, so the fact that Ribble is based where I was born definitely instills an affiliation there.
I remember passing the shop you had on Watery Lane, at the end of Strand Road at least once a week!! I tell you, your new showrooms are quite something in comparison!
Anyway, I’d been looking around for ages, as you do, and comparing, checking reviews, and all that but with the Endurance SL Disc I loved that I could customise the spec of the bike to suit me and the value for money of that spec, I couldn’t find anything that beat it. So SL Disc it was.
It baffles some people that I commute on a carbon road bike with carbon wheels given the number of miles I do and the fact I cycle come rain or shine all year round. But because of my unsociable working hours, I have the opportunity to ride for up to 3 hours when heading to/from work, so I wanted a bike I knew could perform; some of my commutes don’t look too dissimilar to some people’s Saturday/Sunday club rides!
And this time around I was swayed by disc brakes. Given I ride in all weathers to get to and from work, on what can sometimes be filthy roads, I felt a disc brake bike was the sensible and obvious choice.
Besides getting to work and back, what are your cycling goals?
#1 – Use cycling as a vehicle to explore more places with my partner and 2 children.
We were actually heading to the Isle of Man this Easter on a bike packing trip before Coronavirus came and put an end to travel plans. We’d planned to travel by train to Lancaster with 4 bikes and a bike trainer, then cycle to Heysham where we’d catch a ferry over to the Isle of Man for a week of exploring the island by bike. Obviously, I’d planned to have a crack at the IoM TT circuit on the SL Disc!
So we’ll have to pick that plan back up when things ease. I’d also like to similarly explore the Scottish Highlands and Islands.
To be fair just generally I want to explore cycle trails elsewhere in the country like the Monsal Trail in Derbyshire before maybe heading onto the continent when the kids are a bit bigger.
And of course, #1.5…continue commuting on a bike to work and back!
You might be surprised to learn that we’ve been doing things differently for a very long time. The Ribble Promise. Find out more
Swapping vinyl discs for disc brakes, ex-Ibiza DJ Fraser Hamilton now heads up the Sales team here at Ribble. In our latest of the Ribble Rider stories series, we talk paper-round rides to Mallorcan climbs. Read more here